Puslapio vaizdai

be the portrait of a monarch painted by a repub- Windsor. This Oak-room is, like all the truly prilican. Yet it is the favorite of the Queen, and vate apartments at Windsor, completely shut in hangs immediately above and behind the chair from the more public part of the castle, and can she habitually occupies at dinner and luncheon, only be approached from the Grand Corridor. thus challenging almost perpetual comparison. At Windsor, indeed, that most magnificent of In this cruel piece of realism the Queen wears royal residences, the problem is completely solved rather her stately than her ordinary look, but the how to attend with the utmost severity to public position and painting of the hands are simply business, to conduct a royal pageant on a scale masterly. It is in this Oak-room, or in her pri- which throws the festivities of Berlin and St. Pevate sitting-room overlooking the Long Walk, tersburg into the shade, and to secure at a mothat the Queen gets through the routine work of ment's notice the most perfect seclusion. her exalted position during her residence at


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that this master tendency will display itself in our REFLECTION OF NATIONAL CHARAC- art, and we have accordingly sought for traces of its TER IN LITERATURE AND ART. influence in our painting, our drama, and our fiction.

The leading imaginative characteristics of a people, A contained an article entitled “Reflection of by Mr. Gladstone, are obvious. Coarse and vulgar

as the instinct of material aggrandizement may be, English Character in English Art,” in which certain it at least requires to be nourished on ideas of vehecharges made by Mr. Gladstone against the national ment action and extended imagination. We should disposition are met by the assertion that they are expect in our painters the vigorous movement of unfounded from the fact that the evil deplored is Rubens, or the brutal force of Caravaggio ; in our entirely absent from the art and literature of the dramatists, the splendid extravagance of Marlowe; country. The dominant faculty of any people will in our novelists, the romantic conceptions, though

not the tasteful execution, of Scott. With the idea, always be found, the “ Quarterly" writer believes, too, of empire are inseparably associated ideas of in the unconscious tendencies of popular taste. He central authority, such as those which are expressed argues as follows :

with so much majesty in the “ Æneid." But what

have we found, in fact, to be the characteristic feaHistory is made up of politics, and in England, tures of modern English art? Domesticity, as shown wherever there are politics, there is passion. The in the almost exclusive devotion of our painting to political action of a nation is doubtless the index of its character, but where the nature of its action is genre subjects, in the prosaic tone of our drama, and

in the narrow range of our fiction. disputed, as at present, we must endeavor to find a clew to its character in some other quarter. Such a

The relation of literature and art to the prevail. clew may, we think, be obtained by examining the ing tendencies of a people is certainly an interesting tendencies of popular taste. The character of every great nation is reflected indirectly in its art and lit- study, but, so far from this relation being either erature, as well as directly in its history. Poets, complete or trustworthy, a wide gulf, to our mind, painters, sculptors, musicians, and architects show really separates the great body of the community us the thoughts that pass through the mind of a from all forms of æsthetic expression. Literature people, and embody in an ideal form the objects that appear to it most noble, or beautiful, or worthy does with all except the Latin races, and there have

comes very much nearer to popular feeling than art of pursuit. Art, again, shows the most sensitive sympathy with every social change which a nation been periods when poets and painters have bome a undergoes. If, therefore, we can discover any mas- measure of relation to popular tendencies, the poets terful tendencies in our contemporary art, which can sometimes fully and the painters to certain limited only be explained by the predominant influence of feelings and aspirations. But let us glance rapidly what is known to be a strong national passion, and, at art and literature as they stand to-day in their reif these are also found to coexist with analogous forces in the political world, then we shall be able to lations to popular taste. form a much more satisfactory judgment as to the

In the United States there is really nothing in nature of our ruling passion than if we were to draw common between the people and our art, no common our conclusion from politics alone.

ground of sympathy or feeling, no common standard First, then, we may say with certainty that, if of judgment, no accepted base of appreciation or incontemporary English art afford any indication of the dominant passion imputed to the nation by Lib- terchange of ideas. The art world is a world of its eral critics, or of any other absorbing and exclusive own, wherein the culture, the ideas, the aspirations, principle of life, it will be as untrue to the spirit of the purposes, are essentially different from those of its traditions as Mr. Gladstone thinks the English the rest of the community. Even literary circles people is to the spirit of the Constitution described have for the most part little in common with art cirby Pitt.. What distinguishes English literature, for cles, poets and writers being generally a little more instance, is its balance of liberty and authority.

ignorant of art beyond its historical phase, and more And now to apply the conclusions at which we

indifferent to it, than any other class. Artists here have arrived. A dispute has arisen as to the true simply address each other, and a small circle of adcharacter of the English people. Mr. Gladstone mirers. The throngs that gather at the exhibitions, has imparted to the world his own conception of that and the reports of art matters in the newspapers, do character. The assumption on which his argument not disprove what we are saying, for people have proceeds is, that the Tories are making England false to her mission by flattering her dominant pas

a childlike fondness for pictures, and are always sion for extended empire. That this really is her amused by illustrated periodicals or collections of dominant passion he does not attempt to prove by story-telling paintings. American painters are comany evidence beyond his simple assertion : “The monly cautious, conventional, simple-minded, with sentiment of empire may be called innate in every no theatrical fondness for sensation or extravagance, Briton. It is part of our patrimony, born with our loving their art in its minor chords, so to speak; apbirth ; dying only with our death ; incorporating itself in the first elements of our knowledge, and in. preciating delicacy and purity of expression much terwoven with all our habits of mental action upon more than stirring action. Our people, on the other public affairs.” If this be so, it is morally certain hand, are bold and restless, full of invention, delighting in novelty, ambitious for great successes, art; but painters like Corot and Millet have nothing audacious in conception, and inclined to emphasis in common with the attributes usually accredited and exaggeration in all that they utter. Judging to French character-with those painters extravafrom our national characteristics, we should show gance and theatrical sensation being utterly unin our art, according to the “ Quarterly Review," known.

the vigorous movement of Rubens"; in our dram- The fact is that the larger number of artists and atists, "the splendid extravagance of Marlowe"; writers are too often Bohemians, with erratic tastes in our novelists, “the romantic conceptions, though and wholly independent modes of thought, and for not the tasteful execution, of Scott." How com- these reasons, if for no other, are not always calcupletely the reverse of all this our painting, our stage, lated by their natural bent to show the age and body and our fiction are we all know full well. Our peo- of the time, its “form and pressure." It is clear, we ple, indeed, do not expect either art or literature to think, that national character must not be sought for reflect their feelings or to express the passions that in art if we would measure its depth and reach with agitate them. It is true that literature has in a few fullness, and that the English reviewer has done no instances influenced and even led strong currents of more than to make a special and ingenious plea feeling, but at this moment there is neither a writer which is interesting and suggestive, but misleading. nor a painter in the land with any conspicuous hold upon the affections of the people. This assertion Deeds to be modified somewhat for New England,

TOWN SPACES AND TOWN GARDENS. and the Southern people have shown an active sympathy for a few of their writers; but for the most Artists and architects are accustomed to deplore part our people are without a literature that in any the rigid and mathematical laying out of the streets just degree reveals their tendencies, represents their in the upper part of New York, affirming that by passions, or excites their sympathies, or one with the plan pursued suitable sites or spaces for grand which they feel any deep concern. Art amuses them structures are unattainable. Were it at any time a little, literature somewhat more, but both are looked desired to erect a cathedral upon the scale of that upon as rather idle and practically worthless things, of Cologne, it would be impossible, we are told, unwhich may in some degree be supported, but which less, as was done with the Grand Central Depot, have very little place in the earnest interests of life. streets are closed and taken possession of for the

While other peoples come nearer into relation purpose. Depth is possible, as some blocks are from with their art than we do, no community wholly does seven to eight hundred feet long, but the width beso. The domesticity shown in English productions tween each cross-street is not more than two hunof which the “ Quarterly" speaks is but one side of dred feet, less than half the width of St. Peter's at the British mind. Britons scarcely less than ourselves Rome. The new Roman Catholic Cathedral, reare restless and ambitious ; they push colonizing cently dedicated, occupies one entire square, yet it is schemes into remote quarters; their ships penetrate only half the length of St. Peter's, and if it covered every sea; they have shown, and are showing, im- the whole width of the square, it would be over thirmense audacity, enterprise, and a spirit of aggran- ty feet narrower than the cathedral at Cologne, or dizement-all of which has some place in their writ. eighty-five feet less than the transept of St. Paul's, ings, but scarcely any in their art. Recently English London. But as we could erect on the larger squares, artists and writers have exhibited a great fondness should we ever desire to do so, cathedrals as big as for classical themes ; the magazines are full of dis- Westminster Abbey, giving even more length if not cussions of Greek topics, and the exhibitions are greater width, we need not take our deficiencies in characterized by paintings of Greek and Roman this particular very much to heart. As to sites, we scenes, and yet it would be difficult to imagine any. are assured by certain critics that New York is thing more radically opposed than is the rugged, pic- wretchedly off, having nothing equal, for instance, turesque, and barbaric English character to the re- to that of St. Paul's, London. It is true that the fined Greek.

ground rises toward St. Paul's, and this may be the In France writers have often a great hold upon peculiar advantage it enjoys, for otherwise we do not multitudes of people, but they usually do not reflect see in what way its situation is superior to many the sober instincts and conventional tendencies of the sites in New York. The ground facing the public middle class, which is the major part of the commu- squares—the Battery, the City Hall Park, Union nity. Individuals of the bourgeoise Alit through French Square, Madison Square, Washington Square, Cenfiction (mostly for purposes of satire), but its general tral Park-gives in many instances admirable sites tone and sentiment are far different from the prudent for large buildings—but has not, un sortunately, often and sedate tastes of this class, particularly as found in been selected for the purpose, while many imposing the provinces. A few writers, such as André Theu- structures have been crowded into narrow streets. riet, have given us glimpses of this middle class, but Good sites for buildings are by no means common it is quite certain that French romantic literature as in any city, some of the noblest structures in the a whole depicts phases of life that are exceptional, world being hidden away among clustering houses and reflects characteristics that are only in a small that render a full view of them impossible. New degree national. French art is doubtless nearer to York has generally too flat a surface, but otherwise national character than either British or American we can not agree with the critics referred to that it is worse off than cities generally. So far, however, dows look out upon ? A little time and a very little it has signally failed to take possession of such ad. money would do it all. Let us hope to see vines vantages as its situation gives it.

clambering up every house-side, blossoms peering in The writers who complain of the lack of build- at every window, verdure clothing every fence-line, ing sites dwell upon the waste spaces at the rear of art and taste transforming the present unsightliness the houses in the long blocks between the avenues. into grace and beauty. These spaces are declared to be of use solely for drying clothes; and one discontented person in the American Architect” wants to see them thrown

INCREASE OF MELANCHOLY. into small parks for the benefit and use of residents

The lament comes from many quarters that overof houses bordering them. The rear yards of our civilization is making the educated classes despondwellings are certainly far from being either as orna

dent and melancholy. Weariness of life is eating, mental or rightly useful as they might be, but it it is said, into the heart of society. The disease is would be unwise to curtail them. A little industry intense in Russia, where a dreamy melancholy is deand taste would make them as elegant and pleasing scribed by all native writers as one of the features as they are now distasteful. In old times the rear of cultured circles. It is a form of despondency yard in New York was a very different thing from that evinces itself in a disposition to brood over what it is now. The lots were all twenty-five feet wrongs, and which lies, it is alleged, at the root of wide, instead of as now from twelve to twenty; the the present political disturbances. A similar melanhouses were not usually more than forty-five feet choly, if we may believe certain writers, is spreading deep; and hence there was a space big enough for a over England. The London “Spectator" has twice play-ground for children and for grass and flowers. made the theme a topic for discussion. In Mr. James These old-fashioned yards had usually vigorous Payn's essay, “ The Midway Inn,” which the reader grape-vines that clambered over framework to the will find elsewhere in this number of the “Journal," upper stories of the house ; there were flowering the landlord of the inn, who is indulging in a monoshrubs, sometimes fruit-trees, roses, geraniums, and logue, declares “ There is no such thing as high spirother flowers; a well-kept grass-plat ornamented its anywhere," and thinks that the growth of educatheir center. What has become of these semi-rural tion has destroyed all good fellowship. “Boys,” he spots-little green and charming spaces where chil


are so crammed with information that when dren sported, and even sometimes afternoon tea was they grow up there is absolutely no room in them for served? The rear spaces are not so large as they a joke.” A poet writes in the new magazine, once were, houses now being deeper and on narrow- “ Time,” of “The Age of Despair," and says : er lots, and such space as exists is for the most part in disorder. The grass-plat is worn and neglected;

Too far our race has journeyed from its birth ; a few bushes and vines struggle for existence, and

Too far Death casts his shadow o'er the earth.

Ah, what remains to strengthen and support perhaps a lonely geranium tries to brighten the pic

Our hearts, since they have lost the trick of mirth? ture with a blossom or two. Taste and care are all that are needed to make these rear spaces fair and Mr. Mallock has asked gravely, in a series of essays, beautiful to see. Wonders can be done in the way of “Is Life worth living ?” and the German novelist flowers in a very small area. Even a window-sill Lindau ceaselessly harps in his stories on the empcan be made radiant with beauty. The disposition to tiness and worthlessness of everything. Poets and turn things to good account is the great point, with romancists, however, have always been disposed to out which no change of plan will accomplish the take despairing views of things, and melancholy has desired result. No doubt rear yards are neglected frequently been cultivated as a fashion. Young Aron account of our custom of frequently changing thur in “ King John" exclaims : residences; but perhaps if people cultivated their gardens more, the inclination to move would be less

... when I was in France, marked. Landlords may take a hint from this, and

Young gentlemen would be as sad as night

Only for wantonness.” realize that tasteful inclosures in the rear would have a money value as desirable features. A great deal is But this sort of affectation, is as old as human nature. now being done in the way of encouraging house- Is it solely for wantonness that sadness now overhold art. Ladies are covering their walls with spreads the world? The melancholy of the poetspainted china, their windows with strange devices in that which the "Saturday Review” calls “ Wertherthe way of curtains, their chair-backs with artistic ism"—is doubtless a melancholy of the true Jaques embroidery. This mania to make the house beauti- characteristics a whimsical egotism and selfish bitful might well be extended to all the surroundings, terness that finds its own praise by defaming the rest and work in the rear gardens might not only give us of mankind; but the sadness that comes over the parterres of flowers to look at, but plant roses in the world now seems to have arisen from mental strain, cheeks of the fair gardeners--a consummation in from excess of meditation and study. Years ago many cases devoutly to be wished. Will not our Emerson found in England numbers of “ silent Society of Decorative Art and art schools for young Greeks," men whose fastidious culture shrank from women take up this subject, and instruct their pupils the collisions and contests of life, whose over-fashow to make beautiful the prospects that their win. tidiousness had paralyzed impulse and ambition, who


admired nothing and sought for nothing, because jects. It would be far different if nature were nothing could come up to the level of their lofty studied more and the artificial sentiments of the ideals. This indicates that scholarly melancholy is poets and romancists less. Melancholy comes of not a new thing, but has simply increased as edu- brooding and introspection, and hence if men were cation has extended to greater numbers.

to look abroad rather than within, to open their eyes Yet is i: true that sadness is peculiarly the prod- and hearts to the beauties and wonders of meadows uct of culture? The very incarnation of melancholy and woods, of sky and sea, then despondency would is to be found in Millet's pictures of French rustics. be effectually exorcised. It is not knowledge wholly, What a picture of sullen gloom is that of his "Sow. but kinds of knowledge, that bring gloom and sadness. er"-a life without hope, without light, bound for Naturalists are not disposed that way, nor men of ever to the wheel of dreary task! And yet this is science, nor any who study outward life instead of an out-of-door laborer. We might expect melan- emotions and passions. Our literature is clearly too choly to grow up in the shop amid the ceaseless din subjective; we should have back the old breezy, obof machinery, but in primitive, picturesque labor why jective novel, the picturesque stir of Walter Scott, should there not abound the old joyousness? There the robust energy of Cooper. Culture ought to is less oppression and injustice now: the laborer is chasten and enrich our whole being, filling us with protected; the fruits of his fields are garnered for Matthew Arnold's “sweetness and light.” Is it not himself, instead of for priest, king, or robber baron ; odd that one prophet should be preaching this beand yet, if we may believe the painter, an intense neficence as the outcome of the right use of the gloom rests upon him. Can it be that, suffering less mind, while others are deploring the gloom that inthan his ancestors, he yet embodies the accumula- tellectualism is casting over the world ? But in fact tions of sorrow and despair that have been borne by is it intellectualism? Are we not giving that name his race? Or is it that while still as lowly as his pro- to emotional unrest, self-consciousness, and feverish genitors, he has caught visions of higher and better desire ? Intellectualism broadens, enlarges, exalts ; things, that time has taught him to think and com- all great, honest, healthful mental training and depare, to discover all that is withheld from him, to velopment can do mankind no harm; but new consee in himself the perpetual drudge kept for ever in ditions, no doubt, involve new complications. Comthe dust by the unjust discriminations of life? The pensations always bring their evils ; hence a too English rustic, also, has ceased to be the merry fellow studious and introspective questioning may quicken he was once-foregone all his old sports and pastimes, melancholy into an epidemic. A little heroic treatwithout really gaining compensation in education; ment will stamp it out; nothing, indeed, could be but, having in a rude way learned to think, he has better for the afflicted than a sharp misfortune or come into the possession of discontent and distrust. two. If this can not be obtained at will, let them

It is no wonder that gloom should be the heri. try a wholesale dose of out-of-doors, or let them tage of drudges of the fields and victims of tasteless emigrate and colonize, or explore new countries, or labor; but a wonder, indeed, that education should take up a science, or create for themselves some bring a mildew upon the heart and brain of people good, sturdy purpose. The mystery of life will still who have all the world before them to choose from remain a mystery, and the uncertainties of all things and enjoy. Indisputably, if this result be true, it is remain uncertainties—but what matter, if we do because education is wrong in its methods and ob- not brood upon them?


Books of the Day.

FTER the decay of Rome and the downfall of different and yet with which it has so much in com-

the Western Empire there is no epoch of his- mon, there lies the great gulf of the Dark Ages ; tory more interesting or more significant than that and the Renaissance is the dawn which closed that which has come to be known as the Renaissance. It “double night of ages and of death” and ushered is literally, as its name suggests, a period of re-birth in the day whose warmth and light and accumulated -a revival or renewal of the long-suspended breath treasures we now enjoy. To the Renaissance, thereof civilization; and in it are to be sought the begin- fore, belongs the interest which attaches in a penings of the modern world, of the condition of culiar degree to all beginnings, and it is undeniable things amid which we live. From the period of the that the period—its causes and characteristic pheRenaissance to our own time the story of mankind nomena-deserves far more attention than it has ever has been, on the whole, one of orderly, steady, and received at the hands of historians and students. homogeneous progress or growth, and each succes- One branch of the subject Mr. J. Addington sive step or stage can be traced, and its origin and Symonds, previously well known for his studies in sequence pointed out. Between the modern world, Greek and Italian literature and art, has endeavored however, and that ancient world from which it is so to treat with a considerable degree of fullness in his

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